The ChadTough Defeat DIPG Scientific Advisory Council is composed of leading experts on childhood brain cancer. The Council reviews grant applications and makes recommendations to ensure that the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation uses its resources to fund the most promising DIPG research projects.

Suzanne Baker, PhD, Chair

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Suzanne J. Baker, PhD is the Associate Director for Basic Research and Co-Leader of the Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center. She received her PhD degree in Molecular Biology and Human Genetics from The Johns Hopkins University, where she trained with Dr. Bert Vogelstein. After postdoctoral training with Dr. Tom Curran at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, she joined the faculty at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where she holds the Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research.

Cynthia Hawkins, MD, PhD

Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Cynthia Hawkins is a neuropathologist and scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, a principal investigator at the Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre, and a Professor at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Hawkins maintains a clinical practice devoted specifically to pediatric neuropathology and a laboratory devoted exclusively to pediatric brain tumor research, with a particular focus on DIPG.

3 Oren J. Becher_Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine

Oren J. Becher, MD

Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital

Dr. Oren Becher is the Chief of the Jack Martin Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, the Steven Ravitch Chair in Pediatric Hematology, and Professor of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Dr. Becher developed the first genetically engineered mouse model for DIPG, and his laboratory studies the unique biology of DIPG tumors to identify promising novel agents to translate into clinical trials for children with DIPG.


David Ashley, MBBS (Hon), FRACP, PhD

Duke University School of Medicine

Dr. David Ashley is the Director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, a Professor in the Departments of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Pathology, and a member of the Duke Cancer Institute.

Dr. Ashley’s primary research focus is laboratory based, investigating the role of immunotherapy as a novel approach to the treatment of tumors of the central nervous system, including DIPG.

5 Duane Mitchell_University of Florida College of Medicine

Duane Mitchell, MD, PhD

University of Florida College of Medicine

Dr. Duane Mitchell is the Phyllis Kottler Friedman Professor in Neurosurgery and the State of Florida Endowed Chair of Cancer Research within the UF College of Medicine. He serves as the Director of Cancer Therapeutics and Immuno-Oncology for the UF Health Cancer Center, and Co-Director of the Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy.

Dr. Mitchell has extensive translational research experience involving immunotherapy treatments for brain cancer and has served on principal investigator on several first-inhuman clinical immunotherapy trials developed from discoveries made in his laboratory.

6 Michelle Monje_Stanford University

Michelle Monje, MD, PhD

Stanford University

Dr. Michelle Monje is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University in the Department of Neurology and, by courtesy, the Departments of Pediatrics, Pathology and Neurosurgery; a member of the Stanford Child Health Research Institute, Stanford Institute of Stem Cell Biology, the Stanford Cancer Institute and the Stanford Neuroscience Institute; and a practicing neurologist and pediatric neuro-oncologist at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.

Dr. Monje’s research group studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of postnatal neurodevelopment and pediatric glioma pathogenesis, with an emphasis on microenvironmental contributions to glioma pathogenesis, with a long-standing focus on DIPG.

7 Javad Nazarian_George Washington University_University Children’s Hospital Zurich

Javad Nazarian, PhD

George Washington University, University Children’s Hospital Zurich

Dr. Javad Nazarian is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University and Director of the DIPG Research Institute (DRIz) at University Children’s Hospital Zurich Switzerland.

Dr. Nazarian directs the highly clinically translational DIPG program at DRIz and leads the DIPG-focused initiative—Project Open DIPG—at Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium (CBTTC). The goal os Open DIPG is to bring all known DIPG data and resources under one umbrella in order to enhance data accessibility and to accelerate discovery.

8 Robert Wechsler-Reya

Robert Wechsler-Reya, PhD

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Dr. Robert Wechsler-Reya is the Director of the Tumor Initiation and Maintenance Program at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and the Director of the Clayes Research Center for Neuro-Oncology and Genomics at the Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine.

Dr. Wechsler-Reya’s research focuses on the signals that control growth and differentiation in the cerebellum and how these signals are dysregulated in the pediatric brain tumor medulloblastoma.